habit.

Two days ago, I quoted in my previous post about how repetitive actions that we call habits affecting our lives, sometimes in a great way. I had that quote posted because it resonated quite strongly to me, since I know first-handedly how important it is to incorporate some GOOD habits in our daily lives.

Saturday is a choir day, or a music practice day for me. We usually start around 9am, or 10.30am and finish around 1pm. Today, however, I have to stay back because A has got some preparations to do leading to Winter Camp this year, which will commence in 4 days. So, while he’s busy with a soldering iron in one hand and some wires on the other, I need to get myself busy, too. Or else I’ll fall asleep, and there’s no place except the pews for me to sleep on my back.

So I browsed around my favorite blog sites, and I found these posts about habit. They are really good, since one is about writing everyday, and the other one is about waking up early. Exactly what I need.

I have never been a morning person. One of the things that I find quite frustrating is waking up early in the morning. It makes me feel groggy. I don’t know if it’s got to do with me being born at 7pm at night so I am more awake at night and enjoy staying up till late at night, but man, do I struggle. Back in uni days, my semesters were filled with all-nighters of working on the never-ending essays and researches, because I found that I could concentrate much better when the sun was out and my surroundings were quite. No trams clanking along La Trobe street, no building workers drilling their brains out on the new site next door, and no shops opened that late for me to make excuses and roam around city instead. Night time has always been the best, even for writing. Until now.

Maybe I’m getting older. Too old to stay up till four in the morning, a power ‘nap’, and continue the day as usual. I grow exhausted. Maybe that also explains my blotched skin and wrecked mood.

I remember a couple of years ago when I was still working in Surabaya on this below-the-line marketing project, where our main target was school kids around East Java, mostly elementary and secondary schools. We were to promote a new line of lollies through games and small competitions involving the school kids, and the best time to interact with them was in the morning. Schools in Indo normally starts at 7.40am, so we had to be there at least at 7am. I had to wake up around 4.30-5am every day to give enough time for me to get ready, drive to the office, do some stock check, drive to the location, and some preps. I did that for a whole month, everyday. But once the project finished, so did my early rising.

I guess the key is discipline. I cringe when I hear or see that word, because discipline requires a lot of work and demands commitment. But that’s where habit comes in handy, I guess. This dude named Jack Cheng explained in his post 30 Minutes a Day that basically you can learn a new habit by doing it for 30 minutes every day. He referenced his opinion from a research by a professor named Paul Pimsleur, using a Graduated Interval Recall to teach his students to learn a new foreign language.

graphic of spaced vs massed presentation
It’s huge, I know. And I wonder why it doesn’t have a zoom-in/zoom-out icon. Oops.

Anyway, he claimed that the more often you dedicate yourself on this new skill, though for a small amount of time, the more your brain will capture whatever that you’re trying to learn. That is, compared to if you cram everything in two days. That’s why we never remember what we learned in uni (at least for me), unless we put them into practice in some ways, over and over again. Cheng mentioned in his post that, “There are moments when, caught up in the mental resistance that keeps us from getting started, we forget just how enjoyable the act of doing really is.” Like, taking a shower, for instance. It has become a habit, and we actually enjoy it, right? Right? But imagine if taking a shower was never part of our day in the first place, would you think that you would be voluntarily jump into the shower straight-away, even when you know you have to?

Before we were married, Andrew and I used to call each other at night before we went to bed. I had this air purifier machine that belonged to my brother but I took the liberty to slide it to my bedroom for my usage since he’d been back to Indo by that time. Some nights I would forget to turn it on, not realizing that I was missing the beeping and whirling sound during the night. Andrew would remind me every now and then, and there were times when I actually remembered to do it myself. He believed that it took 21 days for one to infuse a new habit, and it was proven.

So, now, I guess I’m interested in trying on this new 30Minute-a-Day challenge. And it indeed will become a challenge, since I am aware that I have taken quite a few ‘challenges’ and plans since March this year, and they have practically been put into a halt. Due to my laziness, or burning out, whatever you want to call it.

Nothing too ambitious this time, hopefully. First one is to write every day. Not impossible, but it is a challenge, since I will (and I really will, believe me) find some excuses that ‘I can’t write today, I need to do this that blablabla”. It’s not how much I write, but how often I write. Maybe I’ll try Jerry Seinfeld’s method,

… pick up one of those wall calendars that had the entire year on a single page. To Seinfeld, becoming a better comedian meant writing every day, so each day Jerry worked on his writing, he would put a big red X in the box for that day. Pretty soon, there’d be a chain of  of red Xs and not breaking the chain became its own motivation.

The second one is waking up early. I will try this method: sleep ONLY when I feel sleepy, and wake up at the same time EVERY morning. Let’s see if I can feel the pain of waking up at 7am when I only drifted to sleep at 2am, just like last night.

This post has reached more than 1,000 words, proving that I actually enjoy the act of doing, don’t I? I just need to remember the joy, or the pain, and the sense of accomplishment once a new post is published.

Until then, we’ll see, huh? :p

I can’t feel my fingers or my toes, and I’m starting to get really hungry, now. Better fetch Andrew soon.

Happy Weekend, everyone!

2 thoughts on “habit.

  1. Very helpful stuff! I’m trying to get off my 2am-10am sleep schedule as well as a schedule for everything else I need to do. This post offers hope and motivation.

    • glad to know that, Katie 🙂 I guess good habits, though seem so simple, can bring great benefits to our lives. we’ll get there 😉

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